India, the world’s fourth-largest carbon emitter with its population of 1.3 billion people, ratified the Paris agreement on climate change on Sunday to become the 62nd nation to join the deal.
The ambitious Paris agreement, signed in December 2015, requires the member countries to make binding commitments to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to keep global average temperatures from rising above 1.5°C as compared to the pre-industrial years.
It will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 countries accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions ratify it.
Here’s all you need to know about where India stands among the world’s top polluters and what the Paris agreement means for it:
• India is responsible for 6% of the global CO2 emissions following China, which accounts for 28%, the United States for 16% and the European Union 10%. In terms of per capita CO2 emissions, 10 other countries are ahead of India.
• Till Sunday, 61 countries, responsible for 48% of the global emissions, had ratified the Paris agreement. With India’s entry, the agreement has inched closer to entry into force.
• As part of the initial commitments to the agreement, India also plans to reduce its carbon emission intensity - emission per unit of GDP - by 33-35% from 2005 levels over 15 years. It aims at producing 40% of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 from non-fossil fuels.
• This would mean India will have to shift significantly from coal-based power generation to renewable energy sources. It will have to produce 100 gigawatt from solar, 60 gigawatt from wind, 10 gigawatt from biomass and 5 gigawatt from small hydropower by 2022.
• Another commitment under the treaty requires India to increase its forest cover by five million hectares along with an improvement in the quality of green cover of an equal measure by 2030.
• By being an early entrant into the deal and playing a key role in its ratification, India will be in a better position to put pressure on developed countries to make more ambitious commitments for curbing carbon emissions and providing finances and technology to developing countries to facilitate a low-carbon economy under the new rules of the Paris agreement.
• US intend to cut its emissions by 26-28% by 2025 against 2005 levels and EU has pledged to lower it by 40% by 2030 against 1990 levels as part of the initial commitments. These targets are less ambitious than that of India’s.